Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Troika Half Ironman

My little race recap I posted on Facebook mentioned something about getting through a 5+hr race on sugar and caffeine... It's true!  What a whirlwind few weeks I've had.  I swear, it never seems to fail either I've got too much time on my hands (not training, work is slow) or it all comes at once.  Sure enough this time it all came at once.  Thankfully, I seem to be a heck of a lot more productive the busier I am!

We started our rental contract for the summer in CDA on June 1st.  However, a friend told me about a local half ironman that I had done a few years ago, and how they moved the race from August to June to help locals racing IMCDA prep!  I sent a note to the owners of our rental and they were super sweet and had no problem with us checking in a few days early.

I've never considered how much actually goes in to moving for 4 months.  2 people, 4 bikes, 2 dogs, 2 home offices.  Top the planning, packing, organizing, cleaning on top of normal ironman training a full time job and a new coaching business and my mind and body were at their limit.  Of course I didn't make it any easier on myself by jumping on a last minute trip to go climb Mnt Lemmon the weekend before our departure, but since the following Monday was a holiday I figured that would be my packing day.  All good intentions of course.

Without going into all the details of the long days, stress etc., let's just say we finally had the car packed at 8pm the night before Shane was departing at 3am for the 21hr drive to CDA.  We talked with our vet, and because we have to sedate one of our dogs it was better to do it in one shot.  I had a 10am flight, but got up with Shane to work a half day and finish closing up the house.

I had a friend pick me up at the airport and give me a car to borrow to get out to CDA and pretty much everything after that was a blur.  I got locked out of my work email, I lost my wedding ring, slept about 12 hours in 3 nights and there I was Saturday morning heading to a small town outside of Spokane to race in a half Ironman.

The day before I had texted Michelle about how exhausted I was.  I was so not myself.  I was in a cloud of sleep depravation, and my body was sore and tired.  I went out for my pre race bike ride and did a few pick ups and my legs burned!!  She reminded me it was not an A race, to drink some wine, try to relax and just have fun!

That is EXACTLY what I did.  I somehow managed to get all of my race gear together without forgetting one thing!  I arrived at the low key race, not knowing a single person and just got my transition area ready with plenty of time to spare.  The weather seemed perfect, not too cold, light breeze.  I got my wetsuit on and headed down to the lake for a super easy warmup.  After dipping into CDA lake which was about 55-56 the day before, the 64degree water felt fantastic.  Before the race I noticed that the rectangular course had an extra buoy off to the left on the way in.  It was the sprint turn, but I wondered if we needed to go around it.  It looked out of the way, so I asked 2 people and they both said YES.

I started the swim lined up perfectly with the first turn buoy right in front (beach start), but noticed several other girls were lined up way to the left.  I almost second guessed myself as we started out and I could tell they were heading out fast.  The group going about the same pace as me were super far to my left side and I was ahead of anyone else so I basically swam the entire course by myself.  I felt like I held a solid line with no veering off course, until I made the final turn and aimed to my left to get that last off centered buoy. As I did my sighting I noticed a ton of people going straight towards the land so I was really confused.  I actually stopped, looked around and saw a kayaker so I asked if we needed to go around it.  She said no, so I redirected myself and cruised right into shore.

I felt like I had a good solid swim, which I have many times before with the watch telling another story.  I pulled up my wetsuit and saw 30:40 as I exited the water and from then on I didn't care what happened - I FINALLY swam how I should be swimming.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my Freak of Nature?  I have never been so comfortable in a wetsuit in my life!

I messed around with my arm warmers for a bit in transition but realized I wasn't really that cold so just left without them.  I did have my toe warmers on, and was super thankful for that.  The bike course started out super fast!  I went really easy at first trying to find my legs and eventually passed a couple of girls.  Someone yelled out to me that I was in 2nd place, then the next thing I knew I passed another girl.  My spirits were lifted and thought, hey, I might actually be able to pull this off and have a solid race!  A few minutes later I hit my garmin and it popped off, went flying over the edge of the road into some bushes.  I've lost 2 garmins before, one during a race and wasn't about to lose my new 910!  I stopped, went backwards a bit, put my bike down and had to walk down the ledge a bit to get it.  When I got back on the bike I thought.. I wonder if that ~minute will matter?

About 10 people re-passed me and each one of them slowed to ask if I was ok.  I was shocked, so nice!  I got back on my bike and took off to try and make up some time.

Shortly after I was passed by 2 different girls (I had not seen before) and they were MOVING.  I tried to go with them but just didn't have it.  When we made the turnaround I realized how much descend we had been doing as well as being greeted by a nice headwind.  I began to noticed how sleepy I was.  My body felt good, my exertion was fine, but I was just really tired.  I decided to just keep the effort steady and do what I could.  I took in a few extra calories and when I got into transition figured I'd see what I had for the run.

As I exited T-2 Shane & my friend were there telling me I had passed someone else in transition and I was running in 3rd.  Shane had run the course and said there were a couple hills, then mostly flat until the other side of the lake.  There wasn't a lot of shade and he said the others would be way too hot.  I didn't really care - I wasn't in the race mode anymore, but as I realized I was closing in on 2nd place I did get a little fire in my belly!  I finally passed her at the beginning of the second loop, but my energy just wasn't there.  I was passed by another girl who was flying, moving me into 3rd place, but could see a couple of girls coming my way and they looked like they were moving!

I had as much fun as I could out there on the course.  Cheers (and high 5) from Sister Madonna, fellow local triathlete Jessie and her wonderful daughter (they've cheered for me every time I've raced in this town!!), and race updates and motivation from my husband and friend Chris made it worth wild and motivating for sure!

I've never wanted a coke so bad during a race!  I brought my own gels, and thankfully 2/3 were caffeine so that helped, but really could have used that cola rush.  I did finally get passed by the girl I saw coming my way in the last 1/2 mile and as much as I wanted to go with her, I just didn't have it.

I was SO happy to be finished!  I walked over to a bench laid down, and just closed my eyes.  It was all I had been thinking about doing all day long.  Turns out my efforts got me 1st in AG and 4th OA, missing out on 3rd and a fancy plaque by less than a minute....  Hmmm :)

I was still super happy with the day, and how I was able to perform on such little sleep and energy.  Makes me excited for the next 3 weeks and the big day at IMCDA!

We headed home to rescue the dogs and walked them over to the lake, then stopped at a little bar and grill that just happens to be dog friendly and 150yards from the house.  It was a perfect Saturday, and made me so excited for the rest of our summer adventures!

And, when my head finally cleared Monday, I did eventually find my ring.... Not sure how I missed it the other times I went to take my supplements?  Phew.....

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